Tag Archives: beauty

Two Thirds of My Life, Worn Proudly

This week marks 20 years since I’ve taken the decision to don the hijab.

I’m not posting this rant to celebrate, brag or showcase my sense of religiousness because all of that is mine and mine alone. I am posting this rant because I’ve been asked by many of my readers/followers/fans of all faiths alike why I have donned the hijab and how I’ve stuck to it for so long.

I made this decision on my own at a young age when I learned the basic Islamic guidelines of hijab. So of course, there was a few times where I’ve checked the rear view mirror, reevaluated my decision and came to the realization that hijab was a part of who I am. So much so, that taking it off would not allow me to be myself. Hijab was not a fashion statement of mine -although I am quite fashionable thank you very much- but it’s a part of who I am as a Muslimah, a part of who I am as a person.

the high school look
the high school look

Sticking to it as a teenager wasn’t always easy. However, I didn’t mind having to explain why I was always covered up, that I was not hot in that and no, I didn’t shower while wearing that. I did learn during that time that when one believes strongly in something, one does find themselves making every effort every day towards that belief.

My belief was to be myself. It didn’t matter whether anyone else approved of it or not. It didn’t matter the dictated trend or what everyone else looked like. My belief was to be myself.

I’m loud. I’m spontaneous. I’m family oriented. I laugh at almost anything. I’m very highly educated. I’m happily single. I’m 21 years old for the tenth time. I’m bilingual. I’m multicultural. I’m always hungry. I’m living on my own in another country. I’m too cool to be reckoned with. I’m simply amazing. I’m all that and more in my own hijab.

One of the main reasons for hijab in Islam to be seen for your inner beauty, intellect and soul rather than your outer beauty alone. I know that no matter the look I decide to take-on at any given time, it suits my inner beauty, my intellect and my soul perfectly.

This week marks 20 years since I’ve taken the decision to don the hijab. This week marks two thirds of my life, worn proudly.

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W.I.S.S. – Rich Monkey

I’m sitting on my laptop, doing homework and minding my own business when my mom comes up to me and asks, “can I speak to you for a moment about something?” Of course, I put my laptop down and listen to what my mom has to say. She’s starts talking about another potential marriage proposal by some doctor on a residency visa in New York when I kindly tell my mom I’m not interested.

In the last few weeks, the details of the marriage proposal by this doctor start to surface. Of course, nothing stays quiet in our loud and proud community! It has reached the ears of some of our family friends who are shocked that I refused his proposal. Everyone had something to say along the lines of, “Give him a chance, he’s a rich doctor after all. How long are you going to stay like this?”

What many don’t understand is that I can honestly careless about such material things, especially when that’s all a man has to offer. I’d rather “stay like this” vs being rich and miserable.

Here’s the full situation: This guy is on a 5 year residency visa (for medical school) with two years left as of this month. He wants to stay in the country beyond those two years by getting married this year to an American citizen. Of course after learning about me through my extended family in New York, he states that he’d rather be with a girl of his same traditional Muslim and Egyptian cultural values then to just marry anyone.

He let it be known that his family is of wealth and stature in Egypt whom he’s spoken with about his interest in proposing to me. His family then spoke to a family friend in New York to call my mother and help them make the formal proposal assuming the impossibility that my family would refuse their stature and wealth. He then would be willing to take a whole week off (that’s 7 days for those unsure how long a week is) to come to San Francisco so that we’d meet and make the necessary arrangements.

Ummm… is it just me or does this assumption sound ridiculous to anyone else?

Speaking from a Muslim perspective, I can not accept his proposal. Why? It’s because Islam teaches us that when seeking a life partner, there are four things amongst many that one should really consider (This is according to Sahih Bukhari/Muslim).

1. Faith (or “Deen”). For a relationship to grow and blossom, it must start with a good foundation of strong Islamic faith and understanding. It’s also the open-mindedness to learn and empower one’s self as a Muslim.

2. Beauty. We aren’t talking about just physical beauty but inner beauty first. Beauty of one’s personality, intelligence, compassion and understanding. I’m a firm believer that inner beauty is truly shown by how one carries themselves.

3. Rank/Status. This doesn’t necessarily mean their rank in school or status in society but in regards to their contribution to society and involvement in the community. How one is recognized in good light throughout their community.

4. Wealth. It’s not whether they are rich or poor but if they are financially stable and responsible. It’s also how do they utilize this wealth; charity (“zakat”), community building, investments, self growth, etc. However, Prophet Mohamed teaches us that one should take another for their faith over their wealth so that they may be successful.

Aside from the fact that I have no clue of this guy’s faith or beauty but only hearsay of his rank and wealth (as well as their view of such), personally I’m simply not interested. I’m not interested in someone who has not made the effort to get to know me on a personal level. He did not ask our family friend in New York about me, what I do, what I aspire to do, nor if we are in anyway compatible with each other. All he knows is how my name is listed in my American passport. Now he knows that I’m not interested in being anyone’s bridge to American visa extension.

Courtesy of www.free-extras.com

As an old Egyptian saying goes, “خد القرد على ماله، يروح المال، يفضل القرد على حلوه” (take a monkey for his riches; when the riches are gone, the monkey stays as is). Now why would I wait for so long only to end up with a monkey?

…and that’s Why I’m Still Single.

Click here to read the introduction to the series.